Over the years the criminal landscape has changed dramatically. The worldwide online cyber crime realm is increasingly displacing conventional forms of property crime, such as burglary and robbery, blurring the lines between traditional crime and cybercrime. With the exception of some violent crimes, it is becoming more and more evident that almost every conceivable crime, in this day and age, has a cyber element to it. Cybercrime are in most cases carried out by organised crime groups. Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, claims: “organised crime has become more dynamic and adaptable due to a combination of globalisation, extremism and technological advances, with law enforcement authorities across the EU facing greater challenges to keep pace with the changing nature of the ever growing substantial and significant threat.”
One of the major reasons for the increase in cyber crime is technological innovation. Technology is expanding rapidly and in many cases is unpredictable, cybercrime has been expanding, with such innovations, to affect virtually all other criminal activities. The rapid innovation of technological developments and the adoption of techniques has made it impossible to provide a detailed outlook on the future of this crime area. Organised crime groups are able to carry out more sophisticated crimes, buying access to the technical skills and expertise they require. This enables hackers to target the unlikeliest group of victims– law enforcement.
No country, industry, community and individual is immune to cyber risks and no one government agency, company or individual can thwart risks alone. Cyber attacks now have no borders whatsoever and continue to evolve at a fast pace, so why would law enforcement be exempt? An article by The Guardian has stated that an agency, often described as Britain’s equivalent to the FBI has argued that without significant investment, law enforcement will fall further behind organised crime groups exploiting encrypted communications technology and dark web anonymity.
Law enforcement cyber attackers can include the likes of: nation states, organised crime groups and script kiddies. They all have a universal intention and that is to hack law enforcement systems and cause disruption and disharmony in order to obtain confidential data or for financial gain. There are a number of attractive reasons for criminals to commit cyber crimes on law enforcement, such as:
- Lower prison sentences
- Greaters return on investment
- Lower risk associated as easier to evade capture
- Lucrative, for example; cyber criminals can attack multiple countries simultaneously
- Ability to change methods frequently
- Use legitimate tools, malware and scripts to achieve greater automation and speed
- Achieve a greater scale and reach
- Faster and cheaper
But why specifically law enforcement?
Law enforcement has had to adapt to the changing dynamics of crime, but now they find themselves a target. Law enforcement possess mass amounts of confidential and sensitive data and information, which is attractive to the likes of organised crime groups and other nation states who could expose such information, if obtained, for their own benefit. With the increasing developments in information technology and the internet itself, law enforcements store more of their data on devices (such as computers) and tend to communicate on various messaging apps or through emails. Most of the time this results in sensitive and monetizable data being left unprotected.
It is becoming easier for cyber criminals to find new ways to compromise the safety of confidential data or systems. More often, government communications and law enforcement are at the forefront of the news agenda with scandals, such as: the loss of sensitive data of millions. Law enforcement can experience cyber threats such as: advanced persistent threats, social engineering, spearfishing or ransomware attacks. All of which have the potential to lose valuable data. An example of this was in December 2016, when a law enforcement agency near Dallas, Texas, fell victim to a ransomware attack when an employee clicked on a link in a phishing email that appeared to be from another law enforcement department. The agency lost a number of digital files, including important video evidence. Law enforcement must respond to the likes of missing persons and terror attacks, as well as working undercover for specific cases. Without secure communications and secure data storage, they will constantly be at risk of losing severely confidential information.
Typically secure communications is used by law enforcement agencies to facilitate and manage non-radio communication for both intra-agency and interagency applications, including: operation, on-demand and emergency communication. Secure communications provides a universal platform through which all mobile device communications and applications seamlessly integrate and run on a fully secure and encrypted basis.
Salt Communications works in conjunction with other service providers to achieve the optimal protection of sensitive information and secure communications, to ensure unwanted individuals do not get access to such information. Public leaks could damage the reputation of many law enforcement agencies. The Salt Communications solution offers users the ability to securely send messages (1:1 and group), share images/ documents and the newest broadcasting feature which pushes out live alerts to large groups, which can be assigned a level of severity.
To find out more information on how Salt Communications is being used by law enforcement clients, or to avail of a free trial of the full solution contact our sales team on firstname.lastname@example.org
About Salt Communications
Salt Communications, ranked in the top half in the Cybersecurity 500, provides a fully enterprise-managed software solution that enables absolute privacy in mobile communications. It is easy to deploy and uses multi-layered encryption techniques to meet the highest of security standards. The Salt Communications Desktop and Mobile apps are intuitive and easy to install and use. The Salt Communications Communication Manager provides a console for tight management of users and can be configured for the management of regulatory compliance. Salt Communications is headquartered in Belfast, Ireland, for more information visit saltcommunications.com.